Jermaine Eluemunor is poised to become the Ravens' third starting right guard in six games when the team faces the Chicago Bears on Sunday at 1 p.m. at M&T Bank Stadium. He replaced an injured Matt Skura in the third quarter of the team's 30-17 victory over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday and had rotated with Skura at that position in two previous games.
One might expect the 6-foot-4, 338-pound rookie to play it cool regarding the first start of his budding career, but Eluemunor said that he is looking forward to the opportunity.
"Heck, yeah," he said with a laugh when asked if he would be nervous about starting against Chicago. "When I came in for that Oakland game, it was real loud because I came in right when they were getting their momentum back. It was so loud, and [quarterback] Joe [Flacco] was making checks at the line, and I'm trying to hear him. One, I was thinking about the play, and two, I was just trying not to mess up because here was my opportunity, and three, I was like, 'Damn, this stadium is loud.'
"So I'll be nervous, but I feel like everyone is nervous. If you don't get nervous for a game, you're not enjoying it."
Eluemunor was the organization's fifth-round choice in April's NFL draft, but the London native has only played six years of organized football and was expected to learn from six-time Pro Bowl selection Marshal Yanda. But with Yanda suffering a fractured left ankle Sept. 17 and Skura spraining his right knee Sunday, Eluemunor is suddenly in the spotlight.
Eluemunor said he does not feel pressure to replace Yanda or Skura.
"I'm not Marshal," he said. "No one's Marshal, and I'm not Matt, too. I'm Jermaine. I've been playing football for six seasons. So I just want to go out there and let everything go and just relax and be calm out there. It's just football."
Flacco expressed his confidence in Eluemunor, saying, "In his first couple weeks, we rotated those guys in there. So he's gotten some playing time and some experience. So he should be ready to go, and we have all the confidence in the world in him going in there and knowing what he's doing and playing physical and contributing."